What's New In  |   May 2014
Women of ASA: History, Status and Scope
Author Affiliations
  • Elizabeth Rebello, M.D.
    Committee on Professional Diversity
  • Cynthia A. Wong, M.D.
    Committee on Professional Diversity
Article Information
Education / CPD / What's New In
What's New In   |   May 2014
Women of ASA: History, Status and Scope
ASA Monitor 05 2014, Vol.78, 58-60.
ASA Monitor 05 2014, Vol.78, 58-60.
Women have been part of ASA since its inception more than 100 years ago as the Long Island Society of Anesthetists (LISA).1,2  This year marks the second time in ASA’s history that a woman, Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D., has served as president of our Society. As Dr. Fitch’s leadership is recognized and celebrated, it is important to review the history, status and scope of women in ASA, and to consider strategies to maximize the potential of women to contribute and serve the Society.
Dr. Emilie Schirmer was present in 1905 at the first meeting of LISA; thus she was a charter member and is considered the first female ASA member.1,2  Dr. Alma Vedin, the first female officer of LISA/ASA, served as vice president from 1920 to 1922.1,2  Almost 90 years after its inception, in 1991, Betty Stephenson, M.D. was the first woman to serve as ASA President. In October 1992, Peter McDermott, M.D. selected Betty Bamforth, M.D. as the Emery Rovenstine lecturer, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Society, and established the “Women’s Forum.” The forum transitioned into the ASA Committee on Professional Diversity. The mission of the committee has expanded over the past several decades; its current mission is “to promote membership and support members of diverse backgrounds which include gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.”3 
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